One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

One Thousand Days Transformed: The Campaign for Cedarville. Learn more »

by Mark D. Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations

At its regular May meeting, Cedarville University’s board of trustees unanimously approved the next step for One Thousand Days Transformed: The Campaign for Cedarville. The campaign will continue through the 2025 school year, with a new goal of $175 million. The university currently has commitments of $131.8 million, surpassing the original goal of $125 million. 

Trustees also approved a new Master of Arts degree program with five specializations, a pair of new graduate certificate programs and nine new faculty members, who will begin in the 2023-24 academic year. 

Extending the Campaign 

Extending the campaign is the result of the significant momentum that propelled it past the original $125 million target nearly two years ahead of schedule. With $131.8 million already committed, trustees approved the campaign extension, noting the opportunity for donors to continue investing in students’ education through scholarships and new facilities. 

The university has experienced extraordinary enrollment growth during the past decade, creating the need to press toward the construction of additional residential housing and new academic buildings while pursuing funds to make college more affordable for students.  

Cedarville's student enrollment has climbed to nearly 5,100 undergraduate, graduate and dual-enrolled high school students. University leaders are also projecting another increase in enrollment in the 2023-24 academic year. 

Increasing the goal by $50 million will allow the university to maximize student affordability through scholarships, build another residence hall, complete the $40 million Scharnberg Business Center by August 2024 and begin construction on an academic facility that will offer premier classrooms and faculty offices for several academic programs. The facility will be used to train the next generation of educators, politicians, police officers, linguists, and more. 

The new housing will include a residence hall and start of a new residential neighborhood that will initially provide nearly 350 more beds for students. 

“Now is the time to move boldly forward into this next step of the One Thousand Days Transformed campaign,” said Dr. Thomas White, president of Cedarville University. "Our work is not finished. God has given us opportunities to serve a growing student body, and we need to steward every day well so that we can continue to send out highly skilled graduates who will stand for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” 

New Academic Programs 

Five new academic specializations for a new Master of Arts (MA) degree to be offered by the school of biblical and theological studies (SBTS) were also approved. The specializations include theological studies, biblical counseling, theological studies with a nine-hour internship at a partnering organization, biblical leadership and worship and theology.  

The single MA program, with a common core and ministry specializations, reflects Cedarville’s vision for sound ministry training that is grounded in the Bible and theology, leading to effective ministry practice. 

The five new specializations will eventually replace the current Master of Arts in Worship and Theology, the Master of Arts in Biblical Leadership and the Master of Ministry programs. The new MA with specializations offers students greater flexibility in course offerings and the ability to switch between programs, if desired. 

In addition, a pair of certificate programs will begin, pending external approvals. These are the certificates in biblical counseling, offered by the SBTS, and leadership, offered by the Robert W. Plaster School of Business. 

New Faculty 

Trustees interviewed each candidate and approved the following new faculty appointments: 

Nathan Averbeck, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics. Dr. Averbeck earned his doctoral degree in mathematics from Baylor University, master’s in mathematics from Eastern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University. Prior to joining the faculty, he was an assistant professor and coordinator of math success at Quincy University. 

Emmanuel Ayanjoke, Pharm.D, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. Dr. Ayanjoke earned his doctoral degree in pharmacy from the University of Toledo. He also earned an MBA and bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from Toledo. Since 2020, Dr. Ayanjoke has worked in pain management and palliative care with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton. 

Reese Clendening, instructor of chemistry. Clendening is in the process of earning his Ph.D. in chemistry from Purdue University. His undergraduate degree is in chemistry from Cedarville University. 

Deborah Groen, instructor of political science. Groen is in the process of earning her Ph.D. in political science from Georgetown University, where she received one of her master’s degrees in political science. She also earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include American political institutions, constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court decision-making and religion and politics. 

Scott Hodgin, assistant professor of English. Hodgin earned a master’s degree in English from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and communication from Wingate College. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Alina Leo, assistant professor of management. Leo earned her MBA from the University of Maryland global campus and is currently enrolled in business analytics track courses at Cedarville University. Leo has served as a part-time faculty member at Cedarville University since 2021. 

Louima Lilite, D.M.A., professor of music. Lilite earned a Doctor of Musical Arts in voice performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music. He also earned a master’s degree in voice performance and pedagogy from Penn State University and a bachelor’s degree in voice and piano performance from Biola University. Since 2008, Lilite served as an associate professor of voice at Oklahoma Baptist University. 

Yuan (Edward) Meng, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Dr. Meng earned his doctoral degree and master’s degrees in electrical and electronic engineering from Auburn University. His bachelor’s degree in optical information science and technology is from Guizhou University in China. Since 2020, he served as an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. 

Kary Oberbrunner, D. Min., Berry Chair for Free Enterprise and associate professor of entrepreneurship. Dr. Oberbrunner earned his doctoral degree in transformational leadership from Ashland University. He holds a Master of Divinity degree and a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Grace College and Theological Seminary. Dr. Oberbrunner is a best-selling author and the founder and CEO of Igniting Souls and Blockchain Life. 

Stephen Schuler, Ph.D., professor of English. Dr. Schuler earned his doctoral degree in English from Baylor University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Grace College. Since 2008, Dr. Schuler has served on the faculty of the University of Mobile. Dr. Schuler will also assume the role of chair of the department of English, literature and modern languages. 

Col. Gregory Thompson, JD., professor of criminal justice. Col. Thompson earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona College of Law and a master’s degree in operational art and science from the Air Command and Staff College at Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. His bachelor’s degree is in business administration and marketing from the University of Arizona. Since 2003, he served the United States Air Force on the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, most recently at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Tiffany Thomson, Ph.D., assistant professor of communication. Dr. Thomson earned her doctoral and master’s degrees in communication from Ohio State University. Her bachelor’s degree in music education is from Cedarville University. Since 2022, she served as an adjunct professor in the department of communication at Cedarville University. 

Conferral of Degrees 

Trustees officially approved the conferral of degrees for the graduating class of 2023, which held commencement exercises on Saturday, May 6. In all, 995 undergraduate and graduate students — the largest in the university’s 137-year history — received their diplomas during two separate ceremonies. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual-enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit

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